Polavaram: Jagan forced to account for past expenses?

YSR Congress party government headed by chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy is said to be facing troubles from the Centre despite saving nearly Rs 800 crore through reverse tendering in executing the balance works of Polavaram major irrigation project and associated hydro-power project.

During his recent visit to New Delhi, Jagan had appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to see that the Centre release at least Rs 16,000 crore for the completion of Polavaram project, besides reimbursing Rs 5,000 crore already spent by the state government for various works.

However, the Union water resources ministry is learnt to have made it clear to the state irrigation department authorities that there was no possibility of releasing fresh funds for Polavaram project, unless the department submits account for every single rupee spent on the project before 2014.

“The state has to show evidences for its claims that it had spent Rs 5,000 crore on Polavaram before the bifurcation of the combined state in 2014. Besides, the state government should also provide accounts for every rupee that is spent on the project till date,” the centre is learnt to have told the state irrigation department.

This is a tricky situation for the Jagan government, as there were allegations of largescale misappropriation of funds by the previous governments. The erstwhile contractors were paid money for the inflated bills for various works which actually had not taken place.

Apparently, the Union water resources ministry also wants to personally supervise the project works hereafter in order to ensure that there is no diversion of funds.

It is also expected to shift the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) from Hyderabad to Rajahmundry or Kovvuru, to enable the officials keep a tab on the project works.

A decision is likely to be taken at the PPA meeting to be held on October 21, the authorities said.